Wipe the dust off CBM policy at PMO

Vol 20, PW 12 (09 Mar 17) News in Brief

Somewhere in Narendra Modi's office lies a note on a proposed new CBM policy for India, hidden under a thick layer of dust.

When will it be approved? "Under what authority are you asking me this?" snaps a PMO source. "I won't say anything.

Call the oil ministry!" More helpful, an oil ministry source tells us the note, prepared more than six months ago by former ministry director Prashant Lokhande, is with the PMO. "It has gone through many changes after consultations between ministries (coal, law and finance)," he says.

"We don't know when it will be approved." Under the proposed changes to India's current CBM policy, in place since 1997, operators will get gas marketing freedom and gas pricing will be brought in line with government guidelines on domestic gas, approved in October 2014. Also to be addressed are the problems created by CBM blocks overlapping with coal mines.

"Operators tend to relinquish blocks within coal mines saying they aren't commercially viable" we hear. "But in reality they are doing it so a coal mine developer can take over.

It is easier to extract coal."

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